By Kate and Melissa
Love, gratitude, and unabashed joy—the overwhelming emotions coursing through us ever since the workshop readings of BIG WORK wrapped almost five weeks ago.
When we sat down to make the list of questions for the BIG WORK interviews, we asked ourselves what we wanted to get out of this experience. We said that “a win” was writing the play, taking the journey at all, and that if even one person saw it, it would be the icing on an already rich cake. So the fact that the show played to four sold out crowds and that there was a hearty waiting list, is more than we dreamed of when this all began.
THANK YOU. Thank you to everyone who came and who traveled far distances to be there, to everyone who sent us a note or an email, to everyone who called or texted with messages of support, to everyone who donated months ago to our crowdsourcing campaign, to the amazing actors who breathed life into these stories, and to everyone who cheered us on from the earliest declaration that we were going to write this play. We’ve marveled to one another over and over again that we’ve never felt so loved in our lives as when we dared give voice to this dream, and then watched as the people in our lives as well as strangers embraced that dream alongside us. We expected to be told we were crazy, or that this conversation about the work that we do and the lives we create in the process wasn’t worth having. But this experience has been proof that we are all looking for opportunities in our own lives to dare greatly, to be authentic, to be vulnerable, and to say, “Why not?”
If there was any larger purpose to this particular play, it was simply to start a conversation about how we see each other because of the jobs we have, and about the ways we all wish we were seen. Nothing was as rewarding as the talk backs with the audiences after each performance. Just as the characters in the play represent a variety of cultures, careers, and perspectives, our audiences were diverse as well: surgeons, artists, therapists, retail workers, and at-home parents. People shared which characters they identified with, the questions that the play asked of them, and ideas for creating a new language that encourages curiosity about the people we meet, in more ways than just how a person earns a paycheck. It’s a conversation we are committed to continuing.
The toughest question we were asked at the workshop readings was, “What are you doing next?” It was asked with enthusiasm and with genuine interest, but it is also a tough question for a two-person theatre company run by people with day jobs. The pressure (including and perhaps most acutely the self-inflicted pressure) to always have something tangible to show for your work can be overwhelming. But we’ve had to take a deep breath and accept that as much as we want to capitalize on the momentum of our workshop readings, we don’t have capacity to always have something on stage. And we got in this to tell the stories that we find compelling – that’s how we pick our projects, and they take as long as they take. In this way, we are daring to see ourselves as more than the work we produce as theatre artists and storytellers—a lesson from the many voices of BIG WORK itself.
But that doesn’t mean we aren’t always creating. Our goals for the next year are to bring BIG WORK to a full production, and to embark on our first “pop-up play” that responds to a real event in real time. We hope you will continue to share in these discussions and this journey with us. Our blog will stay active while we are in the creation process – sharing what is coming down the pike and also more insights from BIG WORK. We are excited to talk about the ways each of us has been personally and forever changed by writing this piece, and also how audiences reacted to the show. We did an anonymous survey of everyone who came, and we are particularly excited to share their answers to the question, “What three words describe how you feel after seeing BIG WORK?”
Waiting five weeks to say thank you to this beautiful community of Visitors for all of your support might make it seem like we aren’t bursting with love, gratitude, and unabashed joy, but we are, more than words can say. But these feelings were also accompanied by a hearty helping of exhaustion from being our own crew, box office, prop mistresses, promoters, and directors. And after months of going nonstop, these two introverts needed a chance to cook and eat well again, sleep again, dance again, and get lost in the pages of a book again. And honestly, it has been nearly impossible to articulate that love, gratitude, and unabashed joy. It sneaks up on us in the most unexpected of moments and knocks us completely over. We’re not sure we’ll ever be able to express what you’ve given to us; we can only hope the play has given some small piece of that back to you.